The Scotland County Humane Society is asking the city of Laurinburg for $95,000 — about $15,000 more than it requested last year.
The Humane Society, which operates the JD & Fran Asher Animal Shelter, has a proposed budget of $343,400 for 2012-2013.
Phillipe Laurent, who spoke on behalf of the Scotland County Humane Society, told city leaders last week that the shelter has seen steady improvements in its numbers “like any successful company.”
In 2010, between January and April, the shelter took in 364 dogs and 126 cats with an adoption rate of 24 percent. For the same period in 2011, the shelter housed 462 dogs and 139 cats with an adoption rate of 62.2 percent. By 2012, the shelter took in 474 dogs and 176 cats and had an adoption rate of 68.5 percent.
“Those numbers represent a tremendous achievement through brute force effort which clearly is becoming less effective over time,” Laurent said.
The Humane Society plans to step up prevention efforts, including a more aggressive spay and neuter program, temperament assessment and education programs at the grade-school level. The shelter also needs to improve its security and make building repairs, according to Laurent.
He said to accomplish those goals would require an increase in funding from the city.
The Humane Society also plans to request $95,000 from the county and has pledged to increase its own fund raising efforts. It has set $61,600 as a goal for the donations and gifts the shelter hopes to generate next year.
The Humane Society seeks to generate another $40,000 through adoptions; $20,000 through spay and neuter reimbursements; and $10,000 from the Scotland County United Way.
One of the shelter’s biggest projected expenses will be its spay/neuter program at $36,000. It expects to spend an additional $22,500 on medicine and vaccinations for the animals. At $176,000, annual salaries for shelter employees are the largest expense.
Councilman Curtis Leak expressed concern about the funding request.
“That’s about a 12 or 13 percent increase,” Leak said. “Aren’t we in the middle of a recession?”
Laurent replied that the “animals that come into our shelter don’t know recession and we have actually seen an increase in intake as a result of that recession.”
“The people that work at the animal shelter know what a recession means,” Leak said. “Because the dog don’t bark, don’t mean the cat is going to say meow.”
Councilman Herbert Rainer asked the Humane Society to provide the city with last year’s request so council could compare the two budgets.
Mayor Tommy Parker commended the group on helping the city control the feral cat population.
“We appreciate the job you did. We had received a number of calls from city residents about the cats,” Parker said. “We know that has caused you more expense.”
Parker said council would take the request under advisement.
“We are in the middle of the budget decision-making process,” Parker said. “You heard the questions, if given some substantiation as to why costs are up, that will aid your cause.”